NCAA FB

Hoosiers setting high goals as expectations grow

Share This Story

   
 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)

Indiana coach Kevin Wilson sees progress on the football field.

The Hoosiers look bigger, stronger and faster. He also knows they haven't proved anything yet.

On Monday, the team's annual media evening, Wilson acknowledged that it's OK if the so-called experts project the Hoosiers to be a borderline bowl team. He expects more.

''I would like our outside expectations to be high,'' Wilson said. ''What we do in there (the locker room), is that sometimes we talk about how people still don't expect a lot of us yet and we use that as a little motivational factor a little bit.''

Wilson always has been one to set higher goals.

When he was running the Oklahoma offense, Wilson routinely competed for Big 12 titles and national championships and anything less was considered a failure.

In Bloomington, though, the stakes are different. Indiana hasn't played in the Rose Bowl since Jan. 1, 1968, has only made one bowl appearance since 1994 and hasn't won a postseason game since shutting out Baylor 24-0 in the 1991 Copper Bowl.

This season, there is reason for hope.

Back-to-back late-season wins over Illinois and Iowa actually had Indiana fans contemplating an improbable trip to the Big Ten title game.

This year, the Hoosiers play eight home games, including their first five for the first time in school history.

Injured quarterback Tre Roberson appears to have recovered from a broken lower left leg that ended his season after less than six quarters. And his replacements - Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld - are back, too. All three are competing for the starting job.

''We're still looking for that one guy, but it's a great problem to have,'' said co-offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, who works with the quarterbacks and receivers.

There's little doubt the Hoosiers will score points with their fast-break style offense.

The question, as it always seems to be, is can Indiana's defense improve?

After moving into contention for last year's division title, the Hoosiers gave up 163 points over the last three games, dashing those hopes.

They've spent nine months hearing about it, watching it and working to produce big plays and better results on game day.

''We've just got to get better,'' linebacker David Cooper said. ''We have to execute better, we have to play more aggressive and we have to stay consistent. A lot of the games that were close, we felt like we could have won if we had played with a little more consistency, a little more execution. We just couldn't finish.''

The Hoosiers are finally in position to do that now.

After reporting to preseason camp Thursday, Indiana will dress in full pads for the first time Tuesday.

On Wednesday, the Hoosiers hold their first two-a-day practice and three weeks from Thursday, they'll be hosting Indiana State in the home opener.

And this Indiana team looks different to Wilson in so many ways.

He has seen linemen maintaining better balance, an indication that the Hoosiers might be strong enough to withstand the rigors of the Big Ten's rugged ground games.

He has seen receivers staying inbounds more frequently, an indication to Wilson that they are willing to fight harder and make big plays.

He finally is being challenged to sort out more position battles and make tougher choices thanks to Indiana's depth.

The prognosticators put all those things together and call this a six- or seven-win team that is capable of earning a bowl bid.

That's not the Hoosiers' goal, though.

''We're not settling for a 7-5 or 6-6 bowl game,'' Cooper said. ''We're there to get a Big Ten championship. We're looking to be a 10- or 11-win, championship-type team because championship teams don't settle.''

It's a mentality Wilson has been trying to instill since he took the job in December 2010.

And as he begins his third year in this rebuilding project, Wilson appears to be getting his message across.

Bowl games are nice, but championships are something to celebrate - especially when nobody believes.

''I think we're starting at a higher point,'' Wilson said. ''We've got a long way to go. No one is where they need to be yet. I think we are bigger and we are stronger, and we've got to continue to get better.''

NOTES: Wilson said freshman running back Daryl Chestnut and receiver Taj Williams have not been cleared to play because of academic reasons. Wilson said he hopes they will be mid-year enrollees. ... Linebacker Chase Hoobler, who missed six games because of injuries last season, is likely to miss the season after he had surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot that will keep him out about four months.

Tagged: Indiana, Houston, Kevin Wilson

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Mark Emmert against unionization Posted: Apr 06, 2014
NCAA president Mark Emmert comments on unionization for student-athletes.

Northwestern athletes win unionization case Posted: Mar 26, 2014
FOX Football debates the implications of student-athletes being able to unionize...

Saban lectures media on Kouandjio's injury Posted: Mar 12, 2014
Nick Saban has some words for the media after the way Cyrus Kouandjio's knee inj...

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash